Cuyahoga County cribs evacuation plan from Kansas City; Officials found cooler cities' plans too complicated

If you walked past a Plain Dealer today and decided you didn’t want to read about our county’s emergency evacuation plan, do yourself a favor: Go back and pop 50 cents into that newspaper box. Actually, pop in a dollar. This morning, the PD earned your money. Breaking perhaps the most amusing Government Fuck-Up story in weeks – no small feat in Cuyahoga, the world’s leading provider of government fuck-up stories – Joe Guillen reports that Cuyahoga officials cribbed the county’s evacuation plan from the city of Kansas City. It seems Melissa Rodrigo, the county’s Emergency Management manager, was busy smoking bud with her burn-out friends all semester and forgot to do the project. So she decided to copy Kansas City’s plan. Why’d she pick Kansas City? Apparently it earned the nation’s top grade on the 2006 Emergency Evacuation Report Card. Plus, was running a $9.95 special on “Emergency Evacuation Plans For Shitty Midwestern Cities.” While Rodrigo deserves credit from not just copying off of Gary, Indiana, or some other Special Ed locale, her cheating skills need serious polishing. Remember that dim-witted linebacker who always “borrowed” your math homework but could never disguise his work as his own? That’s Rodrgio. Only her laziness won’t get you suspended. It’ll get you killed. Among the more rookie-cheater mistakes, the PD writes, was this line, copied word-for-word from KC’s plan: “[The county] has been unable to to identify any scenario that is likely to include a precautionary evacuation of the entire county.” Now this language works fine for Kansas City, since, as its name suggests, it's a city. But since our plan actually is an evacuation plan for an entire county, Rodrigo may have wanted to tweak the wording here a bit. She also relied a tad too much on KC’s plan in the “hazard assessment” area. Guillen points out that Cuyahoga’s plan lists the exact same potential emergencies as KC’s:
It would be appropriate for one city to learn from another's overall emergency response tactics, said Carl Schultz, director of disaster medical services for the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine. Each city, however, should take stock of potential dangers unique to its locale. A lake-effect snowstorm should be accounted for in Cleveland, he said, but not Kansas City. But the "hazard assessment" sections of the two plans list the same seven potential problems, including railroad and highway accidents, floods, dam failures and terrorism. Cuyahoga County, with a large number of senior citizens, has little in its plan for dealing with the special needs of evacuating them.
Our plan also “says nothing about lake-effect snow,” nor does it account for potential East Cleveland gang riots set off by the unexpected arrival of Tuesday. It also makes no plans for the unspeakable event that water accidentally is spilled on Dennis Kucinich, causing him to rapidly multiply and terrorize the county. Rodrigo defended herself, telling her parents that “all the cool counties are doing it.” Meanwhile, in an interview with the PD, County Commissioner Tim Hagan vowed to “get to bottom of this.” He is apparently confused how Rodrigo ended up as a manager, and is expected to have her moved by the end of the week, to a more appropriate job as a high-level executive. – Joe P. Tone
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